Establishing good habits can never start too early. Contrary to rumor, good habits enable freedom, as opposed to procrastination which makes you a slave to all that is left undone. Thus, the first week of college is an essential for establishing good habits, increasing awareness, and setting yourself up to make the most of your college experience. This essay will offer a synthesis of tips, observations, and wisdom to help you enjoy your first week of college and should vastly benefit those considering buying a model descriptive essay of their own.
How to be prepared in your first week of college
The first thing to do to overcome the procrastination temptation and set yourself up to have the best first week at college is to be prepared. This means:
- Have your materials ready.
- Know your schedule.
- Get to know the layout of campus ahead of time.
- If possible, do not work during the first week.
Ideally, no college student would work during college so they could put all their focus and energy into maximizing their education. However, in today’s stressful culture that is unrealistic. In compromise it may be helpful not to work the first week of college. Instead, start off with relaxed attention. Using resources wisely is critical to getting the most out of your college experience. At Ultius, we offer a wide variety of writing resources and services that can help ease the stress of college.
First week of college blast
For many college is the first time you have lived away from home, and taken on this level of independent action and responsibility. While there is no way to avoid making mistakes during any new experience, every mistake can be learned from to improve time management and performance. Keep in mind,
While you’re mapping out your day’s route, take note of how long it takes you to walk from your dorm to your first lecture and between classes. For the first week, give yourself an extra 10 minutes. Chances are your first-year cohorts will also be there a little early too, which will give you a chance to chat with new people before class begins. (Tenreiro)
Memorizing names, locations, and lessons during college is crucial, especially during finals. Ultius has a great blog on boosting memory for finals that offers some helpful tips and tricks. During the first week of college you will be meeting many new people, and while you will not be able to remember most of the names there are a few ways to navigate this overexposure. For example,
Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, I know we met that first week, but I’m terrible with names. What’s your name again?” Then after you’ve chatted for a bit, as you’re walking away, envision their face and repeat their name in your head several times so it “sticks.” (Wang)
Most all college experts emphasize it is great to meet new friends, but just as important to keep old friends. While maintaining prior relationships may not be the focus of the first week it is always good to remember that in the sea of new faces you have a support network from home that still care.
Find your place
The first week of college will likely be quite overwhelming, and so it will be helpful to find a quiet place to relax and unplug. While, “Most of the time you’ll be surrounded by other people. There’s your roommate(s), people next door, or people on other floors, and there will almost always be other people in the campus center or dining halls” (Wang). It is helpful to take some alone time every day, and this may need to be scheduled in. It’s extremely important to have alone time just to absorb thoughts, or to de-stress, especially after a tough final. Having an honest conversation with your roommate, you may be able to see where your two schedules mix so that both of you can have the room to yourself for at least an hour each day. Communication is key for healthy roommate relationships, and honoring your need for space and quiet is important to stay grounded in the midst of fast change (Grasso).
While college is a busy time, many students will find they have more free time than ever before due to being out of the wing of their parents and having new say on how you spend their time. So, “Don’t just sit around when you have free time. Use it wisely. And by wisely…go exploring. Explore the campus, checkout the surrounding area, join a club, go to a sporting event, try a new restaurant” (Wang). You may envision yourself as an explorer of new worlds, an excavator of yourself, and see each day as a new adventure unfolding. So much of your emotional experience is based on the perspective you choose to cultivate. So why not chose a fun one?
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Tips for a great first week of college
A great first week can turn into a great first semester which could lead to a great college experience. No pressure, right? Here’s a few tips for making that first week fun:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot, and foot pain will distract and cause unnecessary stress and strain.
- Stay hydrated: if you love coffee remember you need twice as much water as coffee to stay at the minimum of hydration, and more to be hydrated. Which means if you drink three cups of coffee you need six cups of water at base, and ten to be supported.
- Keep your stress level low. Don’t worry about things that aren’t a priority.
- Keep a healthy snack with you so that if and when your brain calls for reinforcements you will be equipped to support your learning organ.
- Try to keep your backpack from being too heavy to avoid back strain.
- Get enough sleep. This may be a tall order, but if you do not put your health first you will be undermining every effort.
- Keep a planner in which you write down all that you do not want to forget: names, numbers, places, times, appointments, assignments, resources, passwords, etc. Taking notes by hand helps enhance memory retention.
- Practice time management. Don’t overbook yourself, and don’t force yourself to be in a rush. Take on as much responsibility as you can comfortably while still enjoying the journey and having time left over for vegging.
- Turn off your phone. Since you are paying a great deal to be in college do yourself a favor and turn off your smart phone while in class and while doing homework. Give your attention fully to whatever you are doing and you will get more out of it than paying scant attention to ten things.
- Never study one hour before bedtime: all will get dumped in the short term memory gap sleep creates.
Dealing with displacement and homesickness in the first week of college
Homesickness and nostalgia for the way things were back home are natural responses to the vast change of moving to a new location for the first time. Depending on how far or different your campus is from your home, displacement and homesickness may increase. All the tips mentioned prior will help create a healthy foundation for your first week in college, and most important is being sensitive to your needs. This means not becoming totally engrossed in the needs and desires of others, but maintaining personal boundaries which help you met your needs. However, it’s important not to become distracted. Try to balance boundaries while expanding them. So, in the first week of college why not try:
- College ice-breakers
- Go to a frat party
- Try different dining halls, and different coffee shops
- Meet all the people on your floor
- Try making friends with your R.A
- Meet your assigned counselor
- Check out some club meetings (Grasso)
After exploring the options in college it will be easier to see where you fit, who you enjoy being around, and where you feel most comfortable. While it may be obvious you’re a freshman, don’t be afraid to stand out. Another good way to deal with displacement resulting from feeling lost in the crowd is to “Introduce yourself by name to your teachers. Memorize their names before you meet them, and if biographical information about your teacher is online, read it. Introducing yourself will help you establish a good relationship with your teacher” (Milone). This may be considered brown-nosing to some, but also displays a desire to be known and to learn, which is the root of college.
Make new friends
Meeting new people can be both fun and challenging, and a great way to cure displacement and ease homesickness. However, keep in mind “When you meet new people, try to learn about them before you talk about yourself. Getting people to talk about themselves shows you are interested and is a good way to build friendships” (Milone). Key in meeting people is being non-judgmental and open to allowing the person to show you who they are. In this process remember a person is what they do, and not just what they say (Lucier). If a person consistently says one thing but does the other that is not a healthy person to be around, and will likely be a chaotic distraction best avoided.
Safety during your first week of college
Remember to be safe your first week of college and always. Even in college where one sexuality starts to bloom, it’s important to remain smart and safe. Until you really know someone and have developed trust it is not always safe to be alone with them, as the rates of college sexual abuse are staggering. Establish strong relationships with friends who will help look out for your safety as you look out for theirs (Cerbone). College experts emphasize that in the first week of college it is smart to avoid;
- Don’t hook up. It’s smart to give yourself (at least) a one-week delay before hooking up. It’s much easier to regret not hooking up than it is to regret it.
- Don’t start a relationship. You’re at college to learn, explore, try new things, and overall challenge yourself. (Lucier)
Take your time and enjoy the process of getting to know new people slowly. Are you a high school student getting ready to go to college? Check out this guide on ACT and SAT test preparation.
While college is an exciting opportunity, the first week may feel similar to jumping in to the deep end of a pool if you don’t do some prep work. Knowing your limits will not only enable you to protect them, but to expand them at rates which are sustainable. Remember don’t try to get everything done at once, but make a plan which can be fun and engaging. Balance work and play while trying new things your first week at college. Take a few pictures, make a few memories, and send them back home to let your friends and family know you have not forgotten their love.
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Cerbone, Rachel. “How To Survive The First Few Weeks Of Freshman Year.” Society 19, 1 Jun. 2016..
Grant, Hannah. “13 Things You’ll Learn During the First Week of College.” College Humor, 31 Aug. 2012.:
Grasso, Chelsey. “8 Things To Do During Your First Week Of College, Because You Want To Get The Year Off To A Good Start.” Bustle, 27 Aug. 2015.
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. “10 Rules for the First Week in College.” About Education, 2016.
Milone, Michael. “10 Tips for the First Week of College.” College Express, 2016.
Tenreiro, Jacqueline. “6 things that will happen during your first week at college.” USA Today, 29 Jul. 2015.
Wang, Rosanna. “10 Tips to Survive Your First Week of College.” Testive Talks, 21 Jul. 2015.